*Candidate responses were not modified or altered.
Q1. The resurgence of Black Lives Matter has shined a spotlight on the failure of police departments throughout the country to truly ensure public safety. What would you do to address policing concerns impacting the black and immigrant communities and reimagine public safety in our community?
Q2. In addition to policing, how would you address racial injustice in education, housing, and social services?
Q3. COVID-19 has devastated local budgets. What would you do to address budget shortfalls?
Q4. COVID-19 has further worsened an already severe housing crisis in Nevada. How would you address housing security issues?
A1. I think we are pretty lucky as a community to have the public safety organizations that we do. They have all worked well together to address necessary changes in protocols and policies. The current upheaval in our nation has impacted all of us and provided opportunities for elected officials, community organizers, and public safety organizations to meet with members of the greater community and openly talk about what we need in order to protect all of our citizens. I have an open door policy and will encourage members of the black, Hispanic and immigrant communities to speak openly about any issues or concerns. I will also willingly work with the various communities to find proactive solutions to improve their neighborhood’s public safety.
A2. Unfortunately, the City Council has very little control over injustice in education and social services. One is a school board and State of Nevada issue while the other is a County and State of Nevada issue. Where we have some control is in housing. I will work with the Reno Housing Authority to approve developments that will help the specific housing needs of this community. This includes affordable, safe housing in all neighborhoods. Where we can provide input regarding education and social services will be in increasing the training and educational opportunities of our public safety employees so they are better prepared to deal with racial discrepancies when working with children and our diverse population.
A3. I will encourage a review of the budget to identify and reduce any spending in the city budget that does not directly benefit the community. We should consider looking at ways to reduce the subsidies the city pays and also identify the most proactive and community supportive initiatives to redirect funding to. With the federal government Covid-19 funding, we should make sure the funds are used proactively to ensure Reno is a safe, responsible community who not only cares for their citizens, but also for the visitors who come as tourists and conventioners.
A4. I believe we need to ensure there are acceptable ways for all residents to maintain their housing. Options are available to assist with financial aid to those who are most in need, and there are legal methods available to those who are being unfairly targeted during this pandemic. However, we need to better provide the information to tenets on their rights and where to seek assistance, while working with landlords and other stakeholders to develop acceptable and proactive plans for maintaining safe, secure, affordable housing options, especially during times of greater need. This pandemic has shown us where our housing and rental policies have left a gaping hole that many are falling into. We need to make sure what we develop and put into play will help now and in the future should we face another situation like this one.
A1. I believe we should focus on a combination of solutions. First and foremost, we should listen to Black and immigrant communities. Second, we should focus on community engagement and humancentric approaches to policing. Third, we must seek to implement important changes to hiring and diversity policies. Fourth, we must ensure that our most vulnerable persons and groups are protected.
A2. We must do the work of antiracism allies. We can also make certain that POC are present and participate in the decision making processes.
A3. We should re-balance our priorities and budgets to reflect our current realities. We should seek to reduce wasteful spending where possible. We must find ways to work with faith based groups, private sector, and our regional partners to provide services.
A4. We have dedicated funds to creating rapid rehousing, rental assistance, eviction mediation, and a landlord/tenants’ council to address the needs of our community. Longterm we must consider affordable housing trusts and shared ownership programs.
Q1. What are your top 2 priorities for Reno?
Q2. How would you increase local funding and incentives to develop affordable housing for low and middle-income communities?
Q3. How would you address the displacement of low-income communities and communities of color due to gentrification?
Q4. How would you support the growing number of renters in our community?
Q5. How would you create a welcoming and supportive community for immigrants and their families?
A1. My top two priorities for the city of Reno are to find solutions to our affordable housing crisis and the needs of our homeless community while using fiscally responsible government policies.
A2. As we discussed in our interview, in order to increase funding and incentives for developers, we will need to develop a team of regional partners to accurately identify all of the underlying issues that must be addressed before we can proceed with any plans. We must insure we are moving forward with plans that will have a positive impact and benefit our community and region for the long haul. Many of the suggestions mentioned during our conversation are highly probable and possibly the most effective use of our resources and talents and will create better and improved incentives for controlled and responsible growth and development.
A3. We need to look at the benefits and jobs available to the neighborhoods in question before we approve developments. This will allow us to be thoughtful of the residents’ needs, ensuring developments are better placed to allow residents to experience the economic growth and advantages of development. For example, we would not want to approve developments in neighborhoods that could cause a decrease in job availability and increase property values, forcing residents out of their neighborhoods.
A4. As our community grows we have definitely seen an increase in the number of people who rent their residence. In fact, in Reno we have a 60% renter demographic to 40% home owner. We need policies in place that are fair to both tenants and the entities that own the properties. It will become even more important in the near future that as a community we put a stop to rent gouging and the unfair practices of tenant profiling. We have several options available, but we will need to identify the most reliable and effective of them. Some options are tax incentives and deed restrictions, but those will need to be properly vetted as we discussed in the interview.
A5. Immigration is a Federal issue, not a local issue. However, as we discussed in the interview, local governments are left to deal with the moral obligations of immigration. I believe as a local government the best we can do is provide a welcoming atmosphere and growth opportunities to encourage immigrants and their families to settle and become active participants in our community. I, and hopefully our government entities, respect any person who wants to have a fair opportunity to better themselves and the community they choose to call home.
A1. Public safety and housing.
A2. We should utilize all incentives and zoning code improvements to increase affordable housing. There are CDBG and housing dollars that can be layered with private money.
A3. We can create housing trusts and community housing opportunities for both groups. We can also create housing targeted at both groups.
A4. Provide greater protections for tenants and education about tenant issues.
A5. By including them in the decision making process. By building coalitions among immigrant communities, faith groups, law enforcement, and non-profits.
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